As New York remains the epicenter of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States, many residents are continuing to go out and about, despite the strict social distancing guidelines and a “Stay at Home” order in place to combat the virus’s spread.
Dozens of people were recently photographed walking through Central Park, noticeably breaking the “six feet apart” rule recommended by health and government officials.
Many were also walking without a face mask, going against guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which has now advised that all Americans wear non-medical, cloth face masks in public, after discovering that up to 50 percent of those carrying the virus show no symptoms and could be spreading it unknowingly.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also mandated that all New Yorkers should be wearing masks if they go out.
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While residents of the city are allowed to leave the house for essential errands — like going to the grocery store or pharmacy — and for fresh air and exercise, they are meant to be staying inside their homes as much as possible.
According to the New York Times, New York has at least 122,911 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 4,161 deaths as of Monday, the most of any state in the country.
For nearly a month now, U.S. health officials have consistently asked people to avoid public gatherings and stay six feet apart. President Donald Trump announced the most recent, stricter guidelines about masks on Friday.
While Trump, 73, previously previously expressed a desire to see the country return to business as usual by Easter, late last month he extended the government’s social distancing guidelines to April 30.
“The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks. I will say it again. The peak, the highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump said during a press briefing on March 29.
That same day, White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. could see up to 200,000 deaths due to coronavirus and millions of infections.
Although social distancing may not be enough to halt the virus completely, CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook previously reported that it has proven to help slow down the spread of diseases in the past, including during the 1918 flu pandemic.
The CDC maintains that the best prevention methods are basic forms of hygiene — careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face and staying home at signs of illness.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.